Highlights of the NOVEMBER 2013 Issue
On-Campus Hospitality has again partnered with NACAS to present
the third annual College Foodservice Excellence Award. The award
recognizes a higher education foodservice professional who has
gone above and beyond to make the dining experience of his or her customers
— students, faculty, staff and guests — the best it can be, and has greatly
improved food service on the campus or in the industry in general.
This year's recipient of the award, presented on Oct. 27 at the Hyatt Anaheim
Marriott in California, is Rita LaRue, Senior Associate Vice President
for Drexel Business Services at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa. In her
five years in the position, sales per year have risen from $11.8 million to $27
million per year.
On-Campus Hospitality spoke with LaRue to discuss her career, her current
operations and the future for them.
OCH: How do the foodservice operations at Drexel differ
now from when you first arrived on campus?
LaRue: When I first arrived on campus in 1994, there was
a dining center and a coffee shop, and that was it. I had culture
shock in general when I came to University City in Philadelphia.
Being from San Francisco, I found there was very little
here, considering there are three major universities — the only
place to get coffee was the 7-Eleven or the Wawa! By 2007,
when I took over Business Services, the campus had five
food locations to serve 20,100 undergraduate and graduate
students, as well as faculty and staff, and it was evident that
modifications and additions were in dire need and operations
needed to be adapted to suit the growing, diverse student body
and the eclectic Millennial generation.
As Drexel moved from a commuter campus to a residential
campus, I developed the 5-Year Campus Dining Master Plan.
The plan's mission was to enhance the quality and variety of
food services at Drexel, and to redefine campus dining with
emphasis on contemporary dining options, new and renovated
dining locations, sustainability initiatives, organizational stability
and financial success.
One of our biggest challenges was that our residence halls
are on the north side of campus and our major dining center,
which seats about 550 students, was on the opposite end of
campus, so we needed to focus on convenient delivery of service
to the residents. I took a small convenience store and grill
attached to one of the residence halls and, taking advantage
of an already existing infrastructure and therefore decreasing
building costs, developed the Northside Dining Terrace,
a 5,000-square-foot location with seating for 140, featuring a Chick-fil-A, Currito Burrito, Tsunami
Sushi, Subway and a new market — all
selected based on feedback from students
and data compiled from market research.
The Dining Terrace was an immediate success,
outperforming expectations by grossing
$2.5 million in its first six months and
increasing overall customer dining satisfaction
by five percent. ...
Read the complete RITA LARUE INTERVIEW ...
Preparing all of the food options — both concessions and
catering — is a daunting task. Now throw in a tornado
warning, the fact that it is homecoming weekend, and the
government — your employer — is in shutdown, and you are
not sure if the game is going to happen.
That is exactly what happened when On-
Campus Hospitality asked Kevin D'Onofrio,
director of Food Service for the Directorate
of Cadet Activities (DCA) Culinary Group at the United States Military Academy at
West Point, N.Y. (USMA), to keep running
diaries of catering and concession preparations
for the Army Black Knights' game
against Eastern Michigan University on
Oct. 12, 2013.
Catering for Friday, Oct. 11 &
Saturday, Oct. 12: 46 Functions
Friday, 4 Oct.
- Managers meeting to discuss football events for game
- Reviewed tailgate menus and adjusted menu items for Superintendent’s tailgate
- Met with USMA officials for preliminary weather call and inclement weather plan
- Reviewed contracts for specialty requirements (flowers, linen, desserts, liquor, etc.)
- Started working on tailgate map and locations
- Worked on inventory to begin orders next week
- Transferred food from walk-in cooler to other locations due to cooler at Eisenhower Hall going down
- Spoke to clients and booked new tailgates
- Took reservations for community tailgate at First Class Club
- Accepted and posted payments
- Arranged delivery of meals for Army Football team to stadium prior to bus departure (away game, Oct. 5) ...
Read the complete CONCESSIONS DIARY ...
With a diverse student population representing 48 countries and 72 percent of students
participating in a study abroad program, offering a variety of international
cuisines at Elon University in North Carolina seemed only natural.
“Our university is looking at exposing our students to more diverse or global aspects,”
said Brad Moore, director of Planning, Design and Construction Management at Elon. “We
are looking at environments, but in this particular case, we are looking at different foods, a
representation of cultures from all around the world.”
The school is currently building what it calls a Global Neighborhood, which has five
residence halls and a Global Commons Building. “There will be foreign language learning
communities in these buildings,” he said. “Our International Studies program will be part of
that building. It is really a way to expose our students to more diverse and global aspects.”...
Read more ELON GOES GLOBAL ...
Since an early age, food has been an important part of life
for Peter Wallin, executive chef at the College of Wooster
“When I was a child, I was exposed to traditional Swedish
food,” he said. “My father was first-generation Swedish-American
and my mother was second-generation English-Welsh. We did a
lot of traditional foods in the home, and a lot of smorgasbords.
My mother was quite an avid cook. On my father’s side of the
family, my aunt was a baker and chocolatier extraordinaire, so
I kind of got brought in. Another thing, too, is that my mother
was an early feminist, and she wanted to make sure all three of
her boys knew how to cook and do for themselves.”...
Read the complete COMPLIMENTS TO THE CHEF WITH PETER WALLIN...